Word Spelunking

Whirl (Ondine Quartet, #1) - Emma Raveling Whirl has one of the most intriguing synopses that I’ve read in a long while, but they way the synopsis grabbed my attention cannot even begin to compare to how gripping I found the book itself. Emma Raveling’s debut novel Whirl is a captivating, imaginative, enchanting, enticing, fast paced page turner.Seventeen year old Kendra’s life changes forever the night her mother dies. Kendra is an ondine, a powerful water elemental, who, along with her mother, has lived away from the ondine community and in the human world her entire life. After her mother is killed, the mysterious and good looking Tristan comes to take her back to Haverleau, an ondine community in Washington. Once in Haverleau and among her own kind, Kendra quickly learns things about herself, her mother, and her purpose that she never expected. With new friends, complicated romances, and an unasked for fate, Kendra must find herself and her power in order to defeat the evil Aquidae who are out to get her.Whirl pulled me in from the beginning and by the last sentence of the prologue I was hooked. In Whirl, Raveling has created a highly original and spellbinding fantasy world full of charismatic characters, a thrilling story, creative fantasy elements, and some sizzling romance.I love how Raveling took a fantasy/mythical being- the ondine- that has not been explored much in YA books, and created such an intricate and fascinating world around it. From the detailed histories of the ondine to the governing infrastructure within Haverleau to the societal hierarchy in this community, Raveling provides so much detail, background, and development that this world she created, especially Haverleau, and the people within it, seem incredibly real and believable.There is a large cast of characters, all very well developed and engaging. I really love the heroine Kendra. She is one of those perfectly flawed characters that could easily demand your attention, but doesn’t have to because you can’t help simply giving it to her. Kendra is witty, independent, tough, clever, and compassionate, but she’s also quick to judge, hasty to act and speak, and has a temper…yet, underneath her tough, hard exterior lies an insecure vulnerability. I instantly connected with Kendra and found her to be a relatable and impossible to ignore. Kendra’s new friends, Chloe, Aubrey, Ryder, Cam, and Alex provide an eclectic and refreshing reprieve for both Kendra and readers alike.Two of the most intriguing characters are the charming Julian and the mysterious Tristan, both of whom make for very different romantic interests for Kendra. Julian is a rich, charismatic demillir (male ondine-born) who serves as a chevalier (knight or protector of the water elementals). Julian and Kendra often share witty, sarcastically insulting banter and always seem to be trying to one up each other. Julian really gets underneath Kendra’s skin, but there exist an undeniable attraction and pull between the two. Scenes involving these two were always fun to read. Tristan on the other hand is a gardinel (a selkie warrior) and his job is to protect Kendra. A romance between Tristan and Kendra would be most forbidden and dangerous, but their connection is palpable. The chemistry between these two sizzles right off the page and is enticingly hot. Both men are completely swoon-worthy and I cannot wait to see how this little love triangle progresses.The story itself is fast paced and never boring. There were scenes that left me breathless and wanting more and scenes that took me by surprise. Raveling doesn’t shy away from the realistic and vivid when it comes to the fight scenes; there’s an exciting edge to the way she presents these scenes. The fantasy elements are, well, fantastic. Kendra’s ondine powers are explored in such a way that I found them wickedly cool. Raveling has truly presented the world of water elements in a new, fresh way.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I am always impressed when a writer can create a new, refreshing, and fantastical world that I’ve never imagined before, and I’m doubly impressed when I find myself longing to be back in that world hours after I’ve put a book down…when it comes to Whirl consider me doubly impressed. Whirl is an enchanting, fun, beautifully written novel. I will eagerly be awaiting the next book in the series. A definite MUST read!READ THE COMPLETE AND ORIGINAL REVIEW (AND MANY MORE) AT Word Spelunking

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